‘Manhood and Deity’: Two sonnets for Christmas

A pair – and they are a pair – of Christmas poems:


1. Manhood: Joseph

You paint me in the shadows, left of scene.

His shining light there blocked by ox. Or third

King. Or by ass like me. My face is blurred

Lest I distract from Jesus and Mary.


Oh, ‘I’m not Hamlet, nor was meant to be’

‘Attendant lord’ am I, attendant on my Lord—

My son (or so I say: obedient word,

That masks the uselessness I feel in me.)


This all my calling, all my sanctity

To stand detached and silent, unpreferred.

My voice? A butler’s, asking concierge

On their account, not mine, ‘Pray, room have ye?’


Care? No! I know as well as know my fate:

‘They also serve who only stand and wait.’



2. ‘These are the generations’: Deity

God’s being, act. The act of life. Adored

By all creation—act is deity

That is before, beyond, above what He

Has made, surveyed, and loved, who is named Lord.


Eternal generation the act is. Revered

By hosts of heaven who perfectly do see

The life of God the Holy Trinity

One begets, one is begotten, and a Third


Who holds them both in unity assured.

One act, one triune life eternally

Most blessed. A second generation we

Confess: in Virgin’s womb we find the Word:


In heaven the One in Three lives, loves, and reigns;

On earth the eternal Son is born again.

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